Foxborough’s tribute to the fallen starts early on Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, May 23, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2626 and the American Legion Post 93, with help from local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, family members and many appreciative citizens, will place US Flags on the graves of US Armed Forces Veterans. Volunteers will start at Rock Hill Cemetery on South St at 5 p.m. and Saint Mary’s Cemetery on Mechanic St. at 6 p.m., rain or shine. Citizen volunteers are also welcome.
Foxborough’s 141st Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 26th. The tributes to those from Foxborough who lost their lives in service to our nation commence long before the 9 a.m. parade.
The Veteran Posts Color Guard and Rifle Squad, along with Foxborough High School buglers, will place memorial wreaths and play echo taps at Rock Hill Cemetery at 7:30 a.m., then proceed directly to Saint Mary’s Cemetery, then to the East Foxborough Memorial Square on Cocasset Street, across from the VFW.
The public is welcome to participate by meeting inside the entry to Rock Hill Cemetery beginning at 7:30 a.m., on what was historically called “Decoration Day”, as we are led by local clergy, Foxborough students, veterans and community members wishing to pay tribute to Foxborough’s Honored Dead.
In 1873, Foxborough first observed Memorial Day by decorating 20 graves at Rock Hill Cemetery, 1 in East Foxborough and 1 in Canton. In1884, Virgil Pond, who operated a box factory, donated 55 wooden crosses to mark soldier’s graves. George Stiff painted and erected a large wooden cross at Memorial Hall to honor those who rested in Unknown graves. To this day the Foxborough Community continues to memorialize Unknown, Honored Dead at the same location as that large wooden cross of so many years ago. In 1887, it was noted that a large percentage of soldiers’ graves were without headstones, but that the U. S. Government was ready to furnish them.
Parade and ceremony
Foxborough’s Memorial Day Parade begins and ends at the namesake of its first service member killed in action since the Civil War. The parade forms at the American Legion at 8 Mechanic Street; named Lawrence W. Foster Post 93, in honor of the Foxborough Soldier, assigned to an ambulance crew in the famed 26th Division, who was struck by an enemy shell on October 23rd, 1918 and died North of Verdun. Word of the tragic loss reached home 11 days after the Armistice.
At 9:00 am, all are invited to attend the parade around the center of Foxborough. Those marching are asked to meet at the American Legion Post 93, at 8 Mechanic Street by 8:45 a.m. Participants in and observers of the parade are reminded to eat breakfast and hydrate well, to avoid heat related problems. Stepping off from the American Legion at 9:00 a.m., the parade route then turns left at the Common, down Cocasset St., turns right on Wall St., past the post office, then turns right on Central St. to the Ceremony on the Common, across from Memorial Hall. Following the ceremony all attendees and participants are invited for complimentary coffee, soft beverages and pastries at the American Legion Hall.
Keynote speaker is US Army Veteran Kevin Stewart, a 1976 graduate of Foxborough High School. A helicopter pilot, Kevinretired from the US Army as a CW5 (the highest possible Chief Warrant Officer rank), after flying 33 years, in three combat deployments. Kevin Stewart’s decorations include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Master Aviator Badge and many, many more.
Remarks will be shared by Senator James Timilty, Representative Jay Barrows, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Lorraine Brue, New Town Manager William G. Keegan, Jr., and FHS ‘America at War Class’ History Students Lauren Bayuk and Jack Marino. Invocation will be offered by Capt. Derek White, USAF Chaplain and new Pastor at Bethany Congregational Church; Benediction will be led by Justin Campbell, Pastor of River Community Church.
The National Anthem will be played by the renowned Foxborough High School Marching Band under the direction of Steve Massey, and ‘Proud to be an American” will be sung by FHS Senior Meghan Fitton. Echo Taps will be rendered by FHS Band members Matt Mellow and Brendan Johnson on the Common, and earlier at the cemeteries.
The wreaths in front of each of Foxborough’s seven War Memorials and at the location of a monument yet to be erected will be placed by the following:
Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War – by George Littlefield, 101st Airborne Vietnam Veteran and descendent of Foxborough’s 1Lt John Littlefield, Civil War.
Soldiers in Unknown Graves – Jack Authelet, Korean War Army Veteran and Town Historian, who has labored for many years and continues to bring to life the stories of those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.
World War I – by Meredith Bennett, Grandniece of Meda Morse, Red Cross Medical Corps, who perished while deployed to the war.
World War II – by Peter Ouimet, Vietnam Army Veteran & Gold Star Family Member.
Korean War – by Jack Farmer, Korean War Army Veteran touched by the tragic loss of a comrade in arms.
Vietnam – by Bob Siteman, Vietnam Army/Navy Veteran and Arthur L. Brown, Jr., Gold Star Son.
Lebanon, Panama, Persian Gulf War – Capt. Bertha Maloof, US Army Medical Corps (retired), Gulf War and Global War on Terror Veteran.
Global War on Terror – Kurt Pollister, Iraq & Afghanistan Army National Guard Veteran & brother Garrett Pollister, Iraq & Afghanistan Army National Guard Veteran, at the location of a memorial yet to be erected.
Ceremonies on the South end of Foxborough Common are expected to be from about 9:30 – 10:15am. Participants to include state and local officials, police and fire departments, FHS marching band, local boy scout and girl scout troops, cub scout, brownie & daisy units and veteran posts. Foxborough High School students will share thoughts on the meaning of Memorial Day, and why we “Memorialize our Honored Dead”. Wreaths will be placed at the war memorials and new flags and potted flowers will be placed at the 29 memorial squares in town dedicated to our “Honored War Dead” and in front of Memorial Hall where 21 Civil War dead are memorialized.
Memorial Hall, Foxborough’s soldiers’ memorial to those who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War will be open following the program on the Common. A video on The Supreme Sacrifice will be playing.
America’s history is written in, and protected with blood, and while the entire nation carries this burden, the small Town of Foxborough paid a heavy price, with fifty residents making the ultimate sacrifice. This is why we gather, remember, decorate, and honor, on the last Monday in May.